Later tonight fans of Game of Thrones will be able to step into their next adventure in the world of George R. R. Martin with House of the Dragon. It’s hard to underestimate the effect on television that HBO’s Game of Thrones had on it’s fans, and the television world as a whole, and releasing during a golden age of television with the likes of Breaking Bad being on at the same time, it was always going to need to be the best it could be to garner the attention it deserved.
Following Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books, Game of Thrones shocked audiences with it’s graphic depictions of a fantastical land, with blood, gore, nudity and adult themes in abundance, as well as an amazingly interwoven story with a complex list of characters from all sides of the conflicts within it.
It Started So Good But Ended Terribly
From the end of the first episode, many of us knew that we were in for a wild ride when Jaime and Cersei Lannister were caught in an incestuous tryst by the young Bran Stark. In an attempt to cover their tracks and stop their secret being exposed, with no hesitation Jaime pushed Bran out of the tower window he’d climbed up and through, at that point, to his presumed death. For those not familiar with the source material, it was a shocking few minutes of television, and it was this hard-nosed, no holds barred style of story-telling that kept us hooked, and that kept the quality of the show high for four or five seasons.
By the end of the fifth season, the two showrunners David Benioff and D.B.Weiss had caught up to Martin’s books, and upon release of the sixth season, it was immediately clear that this was going to be a problem. The quality of the overall show dropped heavily in the last three seasons, especially in the travesty that was the eighth.
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The final season changed a lot of the established rules of the previous seasons, in so much that it rushed the final parts of the story. Characters previously took entire seasons to travel across the continent of Westeros, but now in season eight they were hopping all over the place. Some of the earlier seasons foreshadowings and story beats were ignored or forgotten completely, and a lot of the characters motivations were odd, or completely wrong to the characters themselves.
Come the close of the eighth season, especially with the revelation as to who the new leader of Westeros would be, fans were left feeling slighted. Many were annoyed at the conclusion of an eight year journey being so incredibly poor, contradictory to the characters they’d watched and grown with, and even the cast of the series were publicly unhappy at the ending.
House of the Dragon
With the spin-off of Game of Thrones starting tonight, the buzz around it seems off the charts, with reviews lauding the pilot closer to the quality of the first season of it’s predecessor, rather than the last.
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Even with the glowing reviews, outstanding marketing and some die-hard fans screaming their love from the rooftops, there’s a lot of fans still feeling sour from Game of Thrones final season, and are less enthused.
It’s understandable, as with eight seasons worth of television culminating in the way it did, it’s hard to want to commit to something set in the same world, from the same production company – albeit with different showrunners – with the same fervor and enthusiasm as we did over a decade ago. It’s also difficult to expect fans to get excited for a story involving the family we know so well from Game of Thrones, when we know exactly how poorly that story ends…
Is that to say that House of the Dragon will be bad? Of course not. In fact, with the money that’s been pumped into it’s initial season, the talent on offer, and the minds involved it should be the complete opposite. Whether it takes the world by the scruff of it’s neck as Games of Thrones did is another story.
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